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SUNDAY, 13TH JULY 2014
9.20am – The Grace Cathedral, Ikeja
Pauline tapped her feet impatiently. She had been waiting, actually hiding in-between the cars for close to thirty minutes now and still had no sight of her husband… or his car. She knew he did not like missing church neither did he like arriving late. So something must be wrong. Church had started some twenty minutes ago and there was no sign of him. She resisted the urge to dial his number with her phone. It would make her look like she was begging and trying to get back into his life, and that was the least thing on her agenda. There was only one thing she desired – to have her revenge on the man who had taken away her joy. Quietly, she walked down to a call centre at the end of the street. She would dial his number from there so he would not be able to trace the caller. If he picked the call, then he was not in church. George always switched off his phone while in church.
“I want to make a call.” She spoke to the young girl who sat under the umbrella, waiting for customers.
The girl brightened up and quickly handed over the phone in her hand. “Good morning, ma.” She greeted with a smile.
Pauline was not in any cheerful mood, so she simply acknowledged the greeting with a nod, collected the phone and took some steps away from the girl.
She closed her eyes tightly. Should she do this? Wasn’t she harming herself more? What did she hope to gain? Wasn’t this foolishness? Maybe she should return the phone and apologise to the poor girl. On the other hand, she could be bold and dial the number and see if George picks. If he does picks, what would happen? Her thoughts were jumbled and disjointed. Maybe this was a mistake.
Her phone rang unexpectedly and she nearly dropped it out of fright. It was probably Ezinne, who had woken up and found out her distraught friend had left the house, but she was shocked when she saw the caller. It was George. She started shaking with indecision. Should she pick or not pick? Perhaps she should hold on and let this fail and then see if he would call again.
“Aunty, no be your phone dey ring so?” The call centre girl asked. “You no wan pick am?”
Pauline’s hand hovered around the green button and when the call was about to come to an end, she pressed the key.
“Hello.” She tried to make her voice as dispassionate as possible. There was no way she would make him think she was an emotional wreck.
“Pauline, where are you?” George sounded very annoyed. “Do you want to disgrace me? Why didn’t you tell me your mother was coming over for a visit?”
“My… my mother?” Pauline could not believe what he just said. She had not invited her mother over, so what was she doing in the house? “You mean my mother is there in the house?”
“Stop asking me stupid questions. Get yourself down here immediately. She has started asking some silly questions, asking after you and why another woman opened the door for her. I cannot take anymore nonsense from your family. Leave wherever you are right now and get down here immediately, you hear me?” He cut the call.
Pauline was confused. Why would her mother make an unexpected visit without first informing her? What was going on? Quickly, she handed the girl’s phone over to her, whispering incoherent apologies and ran to the nearest bus stop where she could get a bike.
“Church Street, Salvation Road in Opebi… do you know the place?” She asked a young chap wearing dark-rimmed glasses.
The boy who looked like a teenager nodded. “But that place too far o! E go cost you. You fit pay?” He asked, taking in her odd appearance.
The boy scratched his head. “N500.”
“Oya, let’s go.” Without waiting, Pauline jumped on the bike behind the boy. “Please go as fast as you can.”
“Alright, madam.” The boy brought the machine to life and zoomed off.
Pauline rubbed her eyes to be sure she was not dreaming, but the pounding in her veins told her she wasn’t. This was real. Her phone rang again and this time it was Ezinne, but instead of picking, Pauline decided to cut the call. Right now, she did not need her friend to stop her from doing what she wanted to do. She switched off her phone to prevent further calls.
Fifteen minutes later, she stood in front of her home and took the stairs up slowly and alert to any sudden movement. When she got to her doorstep, she raised her hand to knock but couldn’t. The fear of what laid behind the door crippled her. Maybe she should just turn back and leave, call her mother and get her out of the place, make…
The door opened without warning and Nneka was at the entrance. She had a basket in her hand as if she was going to the market. Shock played on her face when she saw Pauline, but she quickly recovered.
“I go soon come back, Uncle.” She shouted back into the house. “Madam don come.”
Almost immediately, George appeared behind her and closed the door after him. He turned his full fury on Pauline. “You and your mother are toying with me, right? You think I am a fool and don’t know what you are planning. You called your mother to come in here to beg me to take you back. But you are mistaken. Your stay in this house is over, you hear me?” He faced Nneka. “Go and find a place to stay for some hours. I will call you to let you know when to return.”
“Yes, my love.” She stood on her toes and planted a kiss on his cheek. Then she cast Pauline a contemptuous look, rubbing her belly and communicating a silent, but lethal message.
Pauline willed all her strength to restrain herself from reacting. This was not the moment to cause a scene. She had hoped that the next time she would see George, she would have the upper hand, but things had turned out the other way and against her. She waited for Nneka to get out of the audible range before she turned her full attention to George.
“Point of correction.” She started in clear, icy tones. “I did not get my mother here to beg you. I will never do that because I have no interest in spending more miserable years with you. I am as surprised as you are by her visit and had no prior knowledge. She did not even call me. So don’t blame me if you cannot handle a situation you caused yourself.”
“I don’t care what you think and it doesn’t matter whether you knew or not.” George’s eyes blazed with fire. “Point is, your mother is here and I will need you to act as if everything is fine between us. You will tell her you just took a walk down the street and are just returning. You will not, in any way, make her feel there is something wrong or that you no longer live here. I am sure you do not want her leaving here with heartache.”
“I know I have to act like the good wife and you the adoring husband, though we both know it’s all a façade. You play your part and let me play mine. This pretence is only for a short while. Soon, the whole world will know what you are trying desperately to hide. Then I will see how much pride you will have left.” Pauline walked past George into the house. She had no intention of waiting for his reply.
As she stepped into the living room, her mother walked out of the visitor’s rest room.
“Mama!” Pauline flung herself into her mother’s arms. “Mama, I have missed you.”
Mrs. Adesuwa, a women in her sixties, but who looked younger and graceful, tightened her grasp on her daughter. “Pauline, it is so good to see you.”
“You don’t know how happy I am that you are here, though you did not inform me you were coming and on a Sunday morning. What if we had gone to church early? Was it supposed to be a surprise visit? What of Papa?”
The older woman released her child. “One question at a time. Well, I am sorry. You are right. I should have informed you and your husband before coming, but you know how terrible the network is at our end sometimes, so I decided to try my luck. And here I am! Unfortunately, I shall not be staying too long as I have to return to your father today. You know how much he likes having me around.” She noticed the withdrawn look on Pauline’s face. “Are you okay? You look tired. Too much work?”
Pauline forced a smile on her lips as she studied her mother. Mama had always been the perceptive one, always sensing when something was wrong or right and always ready to proffer solutions. But this problem was one she would never be able to solve, because she would never know about it.
“I’m fine, Mama. A lot has been happening lately, but you have trained me well to be a survivor. All I need is rest and I shall be fine in no time.”
Mama drew closer to her ear. “You know this wahala you are doing could be one of the reasons of the delay. You should take some leave off work and maybe come and spend some days with me in Abeokuta. I met a man who specializes in helping barren women. I hear he is very good. You should meet him.”
George walked towards them with a tray filled with eggplants and groundnut. “Here is for the most wonderful mother-in-law in the world.”
“Oh!” Mama picked one eggplant . “How did you know this is my favourite fruit?” She smiled at George. “You know, when my daughter brought you home as the man she wanted to marry, I felt a lot of hesitation, considering you were Igbo and we were Yoruba, but I must confess you have impressed me so much. Despite the apparent delay, which we are hoping will come to an end soon, you have stuck at my daughter’s side against all odds. I am very happy she made the right decision.”
George and Pauline exchanged nervous glances.
“Well, I am the lucky man here. Marrying your lovely daughter is the best thing that happened to me.” George replied, pulling Pauline close to him and kissing her forehead. “Don’t worry, Mama. I assure you that soon, you shall carry your grandchildren. You just have a little more patience with us. We are praying about this and believe God will answer us soon.”
“Well, I believe that too.” Mama sat on one of the chairs. “I should be leaving soon. So, if there is anything you want to feed me with or send to your father-in-law, go and get them ready.”
George kissed Pauline on the forehead again. “Go and cook something delicious for Mama, honey. Let me go inside and see what we have in the house and gather for her.”
“Yes… Yes, Love.” Pauline replied rigidly as she dashed straight to the kitchen. While there, she took some seconds to do a recall of the drama that just happened. George was a very good actor… and liar. And while she desperately wanted to call his bluff, she knew she had to play along as well to fool her mother. After Mama left, she would give George a piece of her mind.
“Are you sure everything is okay between you and your husband?”
Pauline nearly jumped out of her skin at that voice. She turned and saw Mama standing at the entrance of the kitchen. “You always know how to sneak up on someone. Everything is okay… fine.”
Mama rubbed her chin. “I must have perceived wrongly. The way you stood in his arms as if you did not want him to touch you must have deceived me.”
Pauline quickly turned her face away so Mama could not see the truth in her eyes as more lies flowed out of her mouth. “I am just tired, nothing more. He is my husband and I… I love him.”
“You should consider what I told you about that Baba in Abeokuta. I told him about you and he said he can help. We can give him a try. Promise me you will come.”
“That’s the reason you came, right? To come and convince me about this man.”
“Well… yes. I needed to tell you face-to-face because I know I can never convince you over the phone. I spoke to your father about it and he is in agreement too. Your husband does not need to know if you do not want to tell him. You only tell him you are coming to visit us.”
Pauline picked an onion ball and began to slice it, a lot going through her mind. Her mother had proffered a solution she would never have considered. Going to see a native doctor was not something she wanted to do, but she knew her mother would not rest unless she gave a positive answer. “Okay, Mama. I will take some time off work and come to Abeokuta,”
“Good. That is what I want to hear. I promise you this will work.” Mama walked back to the living room with satisfaction on her face. She had achieved her goal.
An hour later, Mama was ready to leave and both husband and wife wished her a safe journey, with George accompanying her to the closest bus stop. When he returned to the house five minutes afterward, Pauline was seated on the sofa, waiting for him. She looked like a mad woman about to go on the loose and George smirked, wondering what she had on the back of her mind. He had lived with her for eight years and knew what she could do and what she could not do. He knew she did not have the guts to stand up to him. Never had, never will.
“What are you waiting for?” He asked her. “The act is over. You can go back to wherever it is you came from.”
“I am not going anywhere.” Pauline sat more comfortably into the sofa, lines of stubbornness etching her brow. “This is my home as much as it is yours.”
George was confused. “I don’t get it. An hour ago, you stated clearly how you didn’t want to spend more miserable years with me and now you are saying what? That you want to stay?”
Pauline stood up and walked towards the window, her back against him. She had felt really bad tricking her mother and when Mama had praised George and said Pauline had made the right decision to marry him, Pauline wished she had spoken out and told Mama the truth. But the way Mama looked so proud and happy had made her keep quiet and play along instead. Mama had expressed hope for her marriage and guilt had eaten her up, making her regret why she gave up so easily. Perhaps, she could have fought more for her position in the house, could have not agreed to the deceitful plan of having another woman take her place or have her mother-in-law dictate the way her family ran. Perhaps, if she had stood up and faced the situation instead of crying and feeling sorry for herself, things would not have gone this bad.
“I did not like the way we deceived my mother.” She spoke calmly. “And I feel really guilty about it.” She turned to face George. “When you said I was the best thing that happened to you, did you really mean it or were you just acting?”
George rolled his eyes, completely ignoring her question. “I am sorry I made you deceive your mother, but we had no choice. We both know our marriage has crumbled, though we try to keep it away from the world. I have tried, Pauline, haven’t I? I am growing older by the day and cannot wait for you anymore. And if God has given me a child through another woman, do you expect me to reject His blessing?”
Pauline stared hard at the floor. How could she tell him to deny the greatest miracle that ever happened to him? A miracle she had not been able to give him. “Oh, George!” She crumbled to the floor. “There is something you should know.”
“And what is that?”
“I don come back.” Nneka walked through the door to join them. She faced George, pointing at Pauline and dropping the basket in her hand. “She never go?”
“I am not going anywhere.” Pauline replied curtly.
“You have to.” George over-rided. “I cannot allow you to stay in this house and be a threat to my baby and his mother.”
“Please, Pauline. Don’t get over-emotional on this. That is what I want and that is what you will do.”
Pauline stood up, her eyes firm like a stone. “Then you would have to carry my dead body out of here. This is my home and nothing can make me leave.”
“You no wan leave?” Nneka pointed an angry finger at Pauline. “Wait, I dey come.” She headed for the kitchen and returned with a water flask. She sat on one of the sofa and opened the flask, pouring some very hot water into the cup as if she wanted to drink it. Without warning, she poured the content on Pauline. “You still dey here?”
Pauline screamed from the hot pain that sliced through her skin. Nneka didn’t wait as she poured more hot water on her rival. George kicked the flask out of Nneka’s hands and pushed her away from Pauline.
“Pauline!” He shouted as he grabbed her collapsing frame. “My God!” He barked at Nneka. “What have you done?”
“Now we go see if she still get mouth.” She directed her fury at Pauline. “You wan come back come use your witch kill my baby, abi? God no go allow you. Onye ochi”
Pauline could hardly say a word. Terrible sting throbbed through her right arm, which had suffered most of the attack. She pushed away from George, rushing towards the exit.
George raised his hands to help her.
“DON’T TOUCH ME!” Pauline yelled at him, her throat clogged with tears. “You have always wanted a divorce. Now you’ve got one! I hate you, George, I hate you so much and curse the day I met you.” She placed her arm on the knob of the door. “You will never hear from me again.”
“Wait!” George reached out to her, but Nneka pulled him back.
“Make she carry her ogbanje go.” Nneka placed a hand on his chest. “Now you are free.” She turned his face to meet hers. “We get family to raise.’
Pauline knew when the battle was completely lost. She shook her head, amidst tears and ran all the way down. All her life had come to this. She was condemned. A complete failure. She wished she had never been born. She brought out her phone to dial Ezinne to pick her up. She saw it was shut down and wondered how hard her friend would have been trying to reach her. Immediately she put it on, another call from Ezinne came through.
Ezinne didn’t wait for Pauline to speak up. “Pauline, where are you? I’ve been to the church but no one has seen you. Are you okay? Where are you?”
“Come to Opebi and pick me up to the hospital.”
“Hospital? What did you go to do in your house, Pauline? Did he hit you?”
“It’s a long story. Just come as quickly as you can. I barely escaped with my life. It could have been worse.”
“I swear, if he has hurt you, I will strangle him myself.”
“I’m on my way. Just stay calm, okay?”
‘Stay calm’ was not how Pauline felt now. She cut the call and moved back to the stairways, sitting on the first flight of steps. She stared at her peeled skin. It would definitely leave a scar, a reminder of how she came, she saw, and lost.
“Should I go over the instructions again just for it to sink properly into your thick skull?” Bosco spoke in native language as he drove Bola to the place where she was to drop a package.
Bola stared out of the car, trying to keep calm while her insides were screaming in terror. She looked at the small black backpack lying on her laps and shook at the thought of what laid inside. Bosco had wrapped 30 packs of cocaine into that bag and Bola was to deliver it to a stranger who will, in turn, hand over to her another bag fill with money. Her hands quaked with apprehension and sweat filled her palms. She had been given no choice but to do the job or risk losing her brother. Earlier in the day, Bosco had threatened to kill Tomiwa if she failed to do this assignment after she made another attempt to appeal to his emotions to allow them leave. He had even made the threat pointing a gun at the poor boy’s head and that had broken her heart. Tomiwa had looked as if he had seen a ghost and the horror in his eyes was one that would forever haunt her.
She took a deep breath. “I got it clearly. I am to stand at Allen Roundabout and try to act as natural as possible. A man with a red fez cap and a black suitcase would come over and stand by my side and when he says he is thirsty and needs a bottle of coke, I will know he is the one I’m waiting for. I should cautiously hand over this bag and wait for him to check the content. If he is satisfied, he will hand over the suitcase to me. I am then to walk down back to the car where you will be waiting to take me back home.”
“Great. Make sure you do not make any silly mistake.” Bosco glanced briefly at her. “You know what will happen if you do.”
Bola’s hands tightened into a fist. “I am well aware and will do this right. Just keep my brother safe.”
“Well, that depends on you.” Bosco made the turn into Awolowo Way and took a quick look at his wristwatch. “We are almost there. The appointment is at 11.30.”
They passed through the front of the Ikeja City Mall and a memory rose up on Bola’s mind. She remembered the old woman who had tried to help her, give meaning to her life, but she had been despicable. She wondered what could have happened if she had allowed help into her life. Instead, she had been an ingrate and had blocked, perhaps, her only chance at a good life. She would not be in a drug business neither would she have her life and that of her brother hanging on a balance. She regretted turning her back against the ‘angel’ that waltzed into her life. She deserved everything happening to her now.
Five minutes later, Bosco parked the car at Allen Bus Stop and asked her to alight. “Cross over to the other side. Can you see where people are waiting for bus?”
“Just stay with them and wait for the man, okay?”
Bola nodded again.
“Remember, act natural.” Bosco drove out of the Bus Stop. “And don’t get caught.”
“Caught?” Bola raised her head and saw two policemen standing at the middle of the road, waiting to catch any traffic offenders. “You did not tell me policemen would be here. What if I am caught?”
Bosco replied in an irritated voice. “Then try not to get caught. Remember your brother’s life is in your hands if you ever want to see him again.”
Bola banged the door angrily and as Bosco drove away, she looked around the area. It was a busy place with a bit of traffic as vehicles waited for instructions from the traffic lights. She cast a glance at the policemen but they had their attention on opposite direction. Bola wore the bag on her back and started crossing the two-lane road. When she got to the other side, she went towards a corner and stood there, waiting and hoping that the exchange would be done over with as soon as possible and she could get out of there.
“Hey, school girl! Why are you on school uniform? Isn’t today Sunday?” A tall, sweet-looking lady asked Bola with a broad smile pasted on her face.
Bola looked down at her well-ironed uniform and fought for the right lie to give. “Ermmm… I… I am going back to school. I am a boarder.”
“Oh nice! My son is in the boarding house too. He schools in Federal Government College, Ijaniki.”
Why won’t this woman leave me alone? Bola thought distastefully. She is really distracting me. I need to find a man with a red cap.
“So what’s the name of your school?” The woman asked as two buses parked to pick up people, but she did not enter any.
Bola went stiff. She had never thought of finding out the name of the school she was representing, was not even sure it was the uniform of a real school. So she said the first thing that came to her mind. “Girls Model College.”
“I have never heard of that school before and I thought I knew Lagos very well. Where is the school located?”
Bola wanted to zip up the mouth of this woman. From the corner of her eyes, she picked up a man wearing what looked like a red cap coming towards them. “It’s in Surulere.” She looked at the approaching man. Yes, she was right. He was wearing a red cap and carrying a black suitcase.
“I should check it out. So what class are you?”
The man with the cap was tall and of very intimidating stature. Bola felt like an ant when he stood few steps away from her. He wore a casual T-shirt over a faded pair of jeans. He looked like every normal man. No one would suspect a thing.
“SS3.” Bola began to sweat profusely. All she wanted to do now was to do the exchange and not to have little, unnecessary chitchat.
“Wow! My son is in the same class as yours. What a coincidence!” The woman’s eyes sparkled with delight at the realization. “I hope you read your books well.”
“I feel very thirsty and need a bottle of coke. Where are these boys that sell coke today?” The man’s voice was deep and guttural like thunder and he cast a glance at Bola, telling her with his eyes to end the conversation with the woman.
Bola moved away from the woman and closer to the man, removing the bag from her back as if she wanted to take something from it. She looked left, right and left again and when she saw no one was watching her, not even the woman whom had been taking much of her time, she quickly stretched the bag towards the man, whispering as low as she could. “Here is it, sir.”
The man grabbed the bag from her hands and as he was about to give her the suitcase, the woman turned, holding a pistol in her hands and pointing it at them. “Hold it right there!”
In split seconds, when the man found out they had been discovered, he started running and the woman shot at his right knee. He fell on the ground, writhing in pain.
Bola was shocked beyond her imagination. Who was that woman? She did not wait to find out. The operation had been compromised. As the woman turned towards her direction to grab her, Bola took to her heels.
“Wait! Don’t go! I’m here to help you.” The woman shouted at the top of her voice.
But Bola would not be stopped. Without waiting to check the traffic, she jumped into the road and the last thing she saw was a car coming at full speed towards her. She felt a sharp pain rock her body and felt herself falling down. Little by little, darkness took over her and the last face she saw was the face of Tomiwa, crying for help that would never come.
12.13pm – Bosco’s House, Surulere
“You are a fool, Bosco! How can you make such a stupid mistake?”
“I didn’t know it would turn out this way.” Bosco barked into his phone as he paced back and forth in his living room. “I had everything under control. I don’t know how this happened.”
“You should know. I trusted you with this and you disappointed me as usual. Can’t you just handle a simple operation?” The voice sounded extremely irritated. “Now you have got us into deeper shit.”
Bosco rubbed his hand through his head in frustration. “What do you want me to do? I promise I will not get it wrong this time.”
“How can I trust you enough to handle a bigger problem when you could not handle a simple job? The girl did not die, Bosco. She is just unconscious, and do you know what this means for us? She will expose us all when she awakes. We are doomed!”
Bosco marched angrily without direction. “So what do we do?”
“You know what to do.”
“I have her brother with me.”
“What a dummy you are! I’m not talking about the inconsequential, little rat. We have to kill the girl before she wakes up and talk to the police.”
“Kill her?” Bosco stopped dead on his feet. “How are we going to do that? She was taken to the hospital immediately and the policewoman went with her. We cannot just walk into the hospital with a pistol and kill her.”
“We? There is no ‘we’ here, Bosco. You alone will do this job. You caused this problem. You must solve it alone. Where is this hospital?”
“Duro-Soleye Hospital in Ikeja. I followed them secretly to be sure.”
“At least, you did one sensible thing. Find your way there now and make sure that girl does not wake up at all. If you mess this up again, I promise you that your life is not the only thing that will go for it.”
“Please don’t touch my mother. I promise I will kill the girl and bring you proof.”
“One last thing… What should I do with the boy?”
“I don’t care. He’s your business.”
The line cut and Bosco fell flat into the closest chair. Today had gone awry for him. He had never been in this kind of situation before since he started this business and right now, he wished he had not met Bola. He wished he had been more careful in picking the new girl to replace the one who was killed. He was a total loser and needed to regain his reputation and save his face, which was why he needed to make sure this next operation was a success. And as for the boy, he would deal with the rat when he returned from the hospital. First things first. He stood up and headed straight to the kitchen to grab a bottle of beer. He needed all the courage he could muster for this job.
Some steps away, two little eyes watched Bosco secretly, too shocked at the revelation that just floated into his ears. Uncle Bosco was going to kill his sister? What had happened to her? Why was she not back with him? Tomiwa knew his sister was in big trouble and that he needed to find some help before she was killed. His hands went to his pocket and he brought out a paper, the card her sister had thrown away. While she forgot about it, he had picked it up and kept it always with him. He was glad he did that now. He looked through the card and saw the number he would dial for help. He quickly ran back into the room and closed the door. Then he went for one of the pillows, where he had kept his sister’s phone, which she had left for him in case something like this happened. Aunty Bola had always been there for him. Now it was time for him to her hero.
Emeka peeked at the rear-view mirror and saw his Madam’s long, sad face as he drove her home. She had been very quiet since she came out of the hospital, as if she had some heavy problems on her mind. He knew she was having health issues, but yesterday completely destabilized him when he was called to carry her to the hospital, almost half-dead. The way she was limp had made him freak out and wonder at how delicate life was. This moment one was alive and bubbling and the next, one was just a step away from death. Man was like the wind that came and went like it never happened and that realization got Emeka scared. What would happen to him if he died today?
“Can you please go a bit faster, Emeka?” Lola requested politely from the owner’s seat. From the moment she stepped out of the hospital, all she wanted was to get into the comfort of her home where she could have time alone to think without any interference. More than ruminate on her predicament, she wanted time alone to pray. God had to find a way out of this for her and though He had been quiet for a while, she was sure He would never leave her.
“Yes, Madam.” Emeka replied, changing gear immediately.
“Hope you do not feel any pains, Mrs. Williams?” Nurse Titi, whom Dr. Aluko had assigned to take care of Lola, asked from the passenger’s seat beside the driver.
Lola gave one of her brightest smiles. “Not at all, Nurse. Thank you.”
“Just let me know if you need anything.” Nurse Titi nodded approvingly before refocusing her attention on the magazine in her hand.
Lola nodded, staring out of the window. Nurse Titi could not give her everything she wanted. The nurse could not bring Charles home neither could she bring Tobi back from the dead. She would do her best, no doubt, but no matter how hard she tried, she still would not be able to take away the kidney disease. Lola sighed with sorrow. This matter was between her and God, which was why she needed to get home on time.
One of her phones rang and she saw an unfamiliar number. Normally she was careful of which calls she picked, but anyone trying to reach her on this particular channel would be someone close to her. She usually did not give her out this phone number or the card which has this number to just anyone. She knew she had to pick the call, but why did she feel the resistance to? Right now, what she needed was not a relative calling to ask for money or her secretary calling to brief her about business affairs. She cut the call and was about to place it into her bag when it rang again.
“Hello!” She almost shouted into the phone.
“Help my sister. They want to kill her.” The voice was barely a whisper, as if the caller was trying hard not to be caught making the call.
“Who is this?” Lola became alert, especially as she deciphered the voice to be a young child’s. “Where did you get my number?”
“She is in Soleye Hospital in Ikeja. Please save my sister before they kill her.”
“Who is your sister and what is her name?”
“Bola…” The voice trailed away.
Lola heard another voice, this time an adult male, holler at the caller and the last thing she heard was the little boy’s scream before the line was cut. She stared at her phone and was confused about what just happened. Was that a prank call? It couldn’t have been. The scream of horror was too real. The boy could not have had access to her phone number unless… “Change of plan, Emeka. We are going to Ikeja now!”
Emeka and Nurse Titi turned to query this new decision.
“Why, Madam?” Emeka asked. “I think say you wan get home on time.”
“You need rest, Mrs. Williams.” Nurse Titi added with concern in her eyes.
“Just drive there and don’t ask me any questions. We are going to Soleye Hospital.” Lola turned to the Nurse. “Do you know the Hospital, Nurse?”
“Yes, I do. A friend of mine works there. Is there a problem?” Nurse Titi asked, a bit worried about her Patient’s sudden panic.
“Good. We go there now. Someone needs our help and if we do not hurry, what we shall meet shall be her corpse.”
“What!” Emeka did a quick u-turn, changing routes.
“Do you know who this person is?” Nurse Titi asked Lola.
Lola stared at the nurse with her mouth wide open. What was she doing, she chided herself, going to save someone who was in grave danger and endangering her own life and those of others alongside? What if it involved very bad people? But the boy had sounded so desperate, like he depended on her, trusted her to save his sister.
“What’s her name, Mrs. Williams? The person we are going to rescue?” Nurse Titi asked again.
“I… I have no idea.” Lola replied, staring out of the car.